Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

In a bold and unexpected political maneuver, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has strategically ousted his co-Vice-President, Constantino Chiwenga, from his ministerial post, marking a significant shift in the nation’s power dynamics. This move not only consolidates Mnangagwa’s power but also leaves Chiwenga in a vulnerable position, reshaping the future of Zimbabwean politics.

Chiwenga, a pivotal figure in Mnangagwa’s ascent to power through a 2017 coup that dethroned former president Robert Mugabe, found his political aspirations shattered in the recent cabinet reshuffle. Initially envisaging Mnangagwa as a temporary leader, Chiwenga miscalculated his political trajectory. In contrast, Mnangagwa shrewdly tightened his hold on the presidency, overcoming the turbulence of military influence post-coup.

The reshuffle resulted in Chiwenga losing his influential ministerial roles, a significant setback to his political ambitions. This ousting is the latest in a series of purges orchestrated by Mnangagwa since his rise to power, involving reassignments, removals, and even suspicious deaths of political figures. Chiwenga himself narrowly escaped death, suspected to be due to poisoning, and the June 2018 grenade attack at a political rally underscored the dangerous stakes of their political game.

Mnangagwa’s view of Chiwenga as an ambitious and potentially threatening subordinate was a key factor in this power play. Despite the unpredictable political landscape, Mnangagwa successfully navigated his way to dominance, effectively neutralizing Chiwenga’s presidential hopes.

Chiwenga, known for his ambition and decisive action, now faces a critical juncture in his political career. With his allies ousted or deceased, his power base has significantly weakened. Leaked 2010 Wikileaks cables reveal an intriguing aspect of Chiwenga’s character: he was described as a “political general” with limited military expertise, focusing more on political maneuvering. These cables also hinted at his future political ambitions but underscored his limitations.

Despite these perceptions, Chiwenga pursued higher education, obtaining a Master’s and a PhD, though there’s speculation about the authenticity of his academic endeavors. The cables accurately predicted his political involvement but also highlighted the challenges he would face.

Currently, Chiwenga’s options are limited. He could attempt to challenge Mnangagwa politically, but without robust support, his chances of success are slim. Another possibility is retreating from the political limelight or seeking reconciliation with Mnangagwa.

As Zimbabwe’s political arena remains unpredictable, the ongoing tussle between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga is crucial in shaping the country’s future. This high-stakes political drama continues to unfold, with the nation keenly observing how these power struggles will ultimately redefine Zimbabwe’s political landscape. The outcome of this intense political conflict remains uncertain, with the future of Zimbabwean politics hanging in a delicate balance.

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